Apple’s HomePod bested by Google Home Max, Sonos in blind test


Apple’s HomePod has, by all measures, been a huge success. In a week of reviews, I’ve yet to stumble on any strong criticism of the device, or any notable shortcomings that can’t be fixed via a future software update. Noted Apple fanboy John Gruber even waxed poetic about the power cord, of all things: The power cord is perhaps the nicest power cord I’ve ever seen for any product. The cable is covered with a nice fabric, and it’s very supple. For all the praise heaped on Apple this week, the one bit that’s near-universal is the HomePod’s high marks…

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Facebook’s nerds bested by Japan’s in the race to train AI


Facebook this summer announced a breakthrough in neural network training. Its researchers were able to fully train an image processing AI in one hour, using 256 GPUs. Not to be outdone a group of university researchers did it in 32 minutes with 1600 Skylake processors. And a week later a team in Japan did it in 15 minutes. This is why we call it an AI race. The process of training a neural network is exactly how you’re picturing it. As long as you’re imagining it like this: Basically you jam as much data as you possibly can, as quickly…

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The Chevy Bolt Just Bested Tesla’s Model S in a Range Test

Chevy vs. Tesla

According to EPA estimates,  Tesla’s Model S 75D should have a range of ~416 kilometers (259 miles) per charge under ideal driving conditions, while the Chevy Bolt should be able to last for ~383 kilometers (238 miles) on a single charge.

However, in a recent range test by Consumer Reports, the Bolt bested the Model S, showcasing an impressive ~402 kilometer (250 mile) range compared to Tesla’s ~378 kilometers (235 miles). In other words, while the Bolt surpassed expectations, the Model S fell short of them.

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Now, these results don’t imply that the Model S is secretly a bad vehicle — in fact, it is very common for cars to perform below EPA estimates. These estimates are based on testing done in ideal conditions, but Consumer Reports’ test involved what’s called “mixed driving.” That means the vehicles were operating under slightly less than ideal conditions, which makes the Bolt’s performance even more surprising.

An impressive range doesn’t automatically make the Chevy Bolt the better vehicle, though. In fact, Consumer Reports still placed it second behind the Model S in their list of best electric vehicles due to factors like its charging time and uncomfortable seats. At a cost about half that of the Model S, though, the Bolt’s range victory will certainly make it an appealing choice for those on a tighter budget who are looking to go electric.

A Competitive Field

According to Engadget, the Chevy Bolt is “big enough to carry four full-size adults plus a week’s worth of groceries, while the vehicle itself retains the nimbleness and driving experience of a small vehicle.” As mentioned by Consumer Reports, the vehicle has its flaws, but it is all-electric and, perhaps most importantly, has an affordable price point.

While still widely recognized as producing superior vehicles in terms of performance, the massive price difference could be luring buyers away from Tesla’s models and toward cheaper but comparatively capable vehicles like the Bolt. Although Tesla’s Model 3 is the company’s most affordable vehicle to date, even it could end up being much pricier than initially expected if the available add-ons are taken into consideration.

With forthcoming offerings from Volkswagen and Volvo poised to make the affordable EV field even more competitive, Tesla will need to continue to make smart moves to stay on top — that overnight price reduction for the Model S and Model X was a good place to start.

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